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Connor Barry shines in first start, leading Captains to 49-17 victory over Gettysburg

Taking the place of injured senior Matt Dzierski, Barry threw for 287 yards, tossed two touchdown passes, and ran for a score as the Captains move to 2-1.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Freshman Connor Barry stepped in as Christopher Newport's starting quarterback Saturday, and made the most of the opportunity. Taking the place of injured senior Matt Dzierski, Barry threw for 287 yards, tossed two touchdown passes, and ran for a score as the Captains dismantled Gettysburg College, 49-17. The victory at Kelchner Field at TowneBank Stadium improved CNU's record to 2-1 on the season.

The Captains jumped to an early lead, scoring just 1:37 into the opening quarter, and built the advantage to 28-3 by halftime. CNU added three more touchdowns in the second half, the final on an interception return, to coast to the 32-point triumph.

"Connor certainly built some faith with the coaching staff last week when he came into the game and played well against Johns Hopkins," Head Coach Paul Crowley said following the victory. "You never really know until it happens,and today I thought he did a very good job overall and did everything we expected him to."

Barry connected with sophomore wide receiver Colin Hart on a 38-yard pass play for the game's first score, capping a drive that took just four plays and covered 62 yards. After Gettysburg kicker Rob Meyer drilled a 23-yard field goal, the Captains blew the game open by scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter in a span of just seven minutes and one second. Barry crossed the goal line on an 11-yard run to open the flourish, and after a fumble by the Bullets, sophomore running back Gunner White scampered in from ten yards out to make it 21-3. The two scores came just 1:02 apart. Six minutes later, White would score again on a one-yard plunge, capping a seven-play, 56-yard drive to make it 28-3.. 

Christopher Newport started the second half just as they did the first, scoring on its first possession after the intermission. After Gettysburg went three and out, Barry completed back-to-back passes to sophomore Trey Hayes, the second going for 34 yards and a touchdown, and the Captains took a 35-3 lead. Hayes led the Captains in the receiving column, catching six passes for 136 yards.

Following a Gettysburg touchdown run of one yard by Peter Schelling, CNU freshman running back Rajan Booker-Felder scored on a one-yard run of his own late in the third quarter and it was 42-10 heading to the final stanza.

Schelling would score again for the Bullets, this time on a two-yard effort, but it was the CNU defense that would strike last. Freshman linebacker Gavin Hall picked off a pass and ran 41 yards for Christopher Newport's final score of the game to complete the 32-point victory.

Christopher Newport's defensive effort was led by sophomore linebacker Masi Bruning, who recorded eight tackles, and fifth-year senior linebacker Carson Turner, who registered seven tackles and two sacks. Senior defensive back Logan Baker also logged seven tackles and a sack, and junior linebacker Andrew Worsham also recorded a sack as the Captains got to Gettysburg quarterbacks four times on the day. In addition to Hall's pick six, sophomore defensive back Brandon Peterson and freshman DB Noah Martin also intercepted passes. 

The game was the first meeting ever of the two schools, and was played on a sunny and pleasant late afternoon. A crowd of 3,019 watched the Captains improve to 2-1 while the Bullets fell to 1-2.

Dzierski, who suffered a shoulder injury in the 20-14 loss at Johns Hopkins, had started the last 22 games at quarterback for CNU, the longest starting streak at the position in program history. Barry, a lefty freshman from Vienna, Va., transferred to Christopher Newport from Appalachian State, where he did not see any game action. He finished the day 14-of-20 in the passing department for 287 yards. He also ran for 21 yards on seven carries.

"We had some sloppy play early, including too many penalties and a few drops," Crowley continued. "While there was a lot of good stuff, there's still a lot we have to clean up. That was the message I gave the team after the game, and I know we'll have to work hard over the next two weeks to get ready for Salisbury." The Captains were penalized nine times for 86 yards on the day.

CNU has next weekend off, and will host the Sea Gulls of Salisbury on Saturday, September 30th, at Kelchner Field at TowneBank Stadium. The Gulls will be 1-2 heading into that game after losing at home to Johns Hopkins on Saturday, 42-7. The matchup will come during Family Weekend festivities at Christopher Newport.

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